The Partnership for Safe Medicines
Weekly UpdateJune 7, 2010
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Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) Joins with Irish Patients Association to Combat Counterfeit Medicine Threat

T.D Minister for Health Mary Harney Attends International Dialogue with Leading Industry, Health, Government Officials, Regulators, Law Enforcement and Patient Advocates

DUBLIN (June 4, 2010) - Citing a growing, public and borderless health threat posed by the availability of primarily counterfeit prescription medicines around the globe, the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) today joined with the Irish Patients Association (IPA) to urge the development of a strong public-private partnership across Ireland and the European Union.

"Make no mistake, this is a decades-old challenge that has direct implications for the safety of the Irish and European drug supply," Scott LaGanga, executive director of PSM, told the gathering. "By soliciting ideas from all concerned stakeholders, including industry, government and patients who rely on life-saving medicines every day, we can implement collaborative solutions that address the problem head on."

"Stated simply, counterfeit drugs deny patients therapies that can alleviate suffering and save lives," said Stephen McMahon, Chairman of the IPA. "Only through strong public-private partnerships working nationally and internationally can we achieve a positive and long-term outcome."

According to data by the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI), drug counterfeiting has increased by 9.2 percent worldwide over the past year. Other key survey findings include:

  • Variety of Pharmaceutical Products Increasing: There were 808 types of counterfeit pharmaceutical products identified in 2009, up more than 36 percent from 2008.
  • Geographical Locations More Diverse: Counterfeits were detected in 118 countries in 2008.
  • Counterfeit Drugs Going Wholesale: In 531 incidents, counterfeit products reached licensed wholesale distributors and/or pharmacies in 48 different countries. 472 of the 978 counterfeit medicine seizures made by law enforcement were of "commercial" size.

A recent report titled 'Cracking Counterfeit Europe', ranked Ireland sixth worst in Europe for counterfeit medicine activity. The same report also found that the counterfeit medicines market in Ireland could be worth more than €86m a year.

"As we have seen by joint collaborative efforts led by the Partnership around the globe in countries ranging from India to Ireland, if we make the right decisions and strategic choices today, we have an opportunity to reverse these trends and ensure the safety of the Irish people for decades to come," LaGanga concluded.
Top News

New Study Highlights Dangers of Counterfeit Lifestyle Drugs


A new study, conducted in South Korea and slated for presentation Monday at the American Urological Association annual meeting in San Francisco, finds that not only can counterfeit lifestyle drugs be contaminated, they may contain too much of the active ingredient or none at all. The drugs could especially be dangerous for men with hypertension or heart disease, the study found. Fifty-eight percent of the drugs studied had too much active ingredient, sometimes as much as 2.4 times more, while 3 percent had no active ingredient at all. Some contained potential toxins, including mercury and lead. ("Dangers Lurk in Impotence Drugs Sold on Web," Business Week, May 31, 2010; Story here)

World News

Dubai: Officials Seize $70 Million Worth of Counterfeit Drugs


Authorities in United Arab Emirates have seized several million counterfeit and illegal drug doses from a warehouse in Dubai, according to a report in The Gulf Today. The counterfeit drugs were allegedly stored at the warehouse by a worker at the company without the knowledge of his employers. The value of the haul is estimated at $70 million and included a number of lifestyle medicines and dietary/herbal supplements. ("Dubai Customs seize counterfeit medicines," Securing Pharma, June 2, 2010; Story here)



China: Bus Patron Found Carrying Counterfeit Drugs


A passenger at a Shanghai bus station was detained for allegedly dealing in counterfeit drugs. Shanghai Food & Drug Administration said after inspection that the 200 bottles of human serum albumin (HSA) found in the suspect's luggage did not contain real proteins, which would cause serious harm if anyone took the drug. The passenger said he bought the batch of HSA from people outside the city was about to carry the drug back to his home town Taixing in neighboring Jiangsu Province. The case is still under investigation. ("Man Detained over Counterfeit Drugs," Shanghai Daily, June 2, 2010; Story here)

India: Policy Group Confirms Presence of Counterfeit Drugs in Indian Cities

A report published by the International Policy Network found that 7 percent of drugs purchased from wholesale traders in Delhi were substandard, with half of these were found to contain no active ingredients at all. Some of the counterfeit drugs contained chalk or talcum powder mixed with a pain reliever. Overall, 12 percent of sampled medicines from Delhi pharmacies and 5 percent of those from Chennai outlets were found to be substandard. Analysis of the samples is still ongoing. ("Survey measures substandard medicines from Indian traders," Securing Pharma, May 28, 2010; Story here)

Read the full report published by the International Policy Network here.


The Drug Information Association 46th Annual Meeting

When: Sunday, Jun 13, 2010

Where: Washington D.C.

Description: Link here


5th Global Pharma Manufacturing Summit

When: Monday, Jun 14, 2010

Where: Boston, MA

Description: Link here


Global Pharma Authentication

When: Monday, Jun 14, 2010

Where: Munich, Germany

Description: Link here


4th Annual Pharmaceutical Anti-Counterfeiting Strategies Conference

When: Tuesday, Sep 7, 2010

Where: London, UK

Description: Link here

PSM's Inaugural 2010 Interchange
When: Friday, Oct 8, 2010
Where: Washington, D.C.
Description: The Partnership for Safe Medicines invites you to save the date for an intimate conference bringing together patient groups, providers, pharmaceutical company quality experts, enforcement personnel, policymakers, regulatory agency experts and other interested parties to discuss key issues around counterfeit drugs and other unsafe medicines. Link here.
About the Partnership for Safe Medicines
The Partnership for Safe Medicines is a group of organizations and individuals that have policies, procedures, or programs to protect consumers from counterfeit or contraband medicines. For more information, please visit